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Fighting a Prenup in Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

divorce, fighting a prenup, McHenry County divorce attorney, prenup, prenuptial agreement, property division, spousal support, overcoming a prenupMany people who are about to get married, particularly those with high net worth, choose to enter into a premarital agreement beforehand. Premarital agreements, also referred to as prenuptial agreements or prenups, are contracts between the two people about to get married detailing what should happen in the event of a divorce. These prenups are legally binding contracts, and courts will often enforce them, but like many contracts, the spouses may have legal arguments available to them that would nullify the contract. In fact, an ongoing and contentious divorce that is currently happening in Illinois highlights some of these arguments. That case, which involves a divorce between a hedge fund manager and his wife, demonstrates two of the most common arguments to invalidate a prenup: improper financial disclosures and coercion.

What Are Prenups?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spouses enter into prior to a marriage to decide how certain aspects of their divorce would play out. For instance, spouses who choose to enter into premarital agreements can determine things like property division and spousal support, so that the court does not have to deal with those issues during the divorce. In general, the prenup can outline the rights and responsibilities that the spouses have towards each other during the divorce.

However, there are some things that prenuptial agreements cannot do. Most importantly, they cannot address issues of child custody or child support. This is because those matters relate to the rights of the child, who is not a party to the contract. A parent cannot sign away a child's right to child support because that right belongs to the child and not to the parent. Additionally, there are a variety of procedural formalities that are required for a valid prenup, and it is these formalities that often form the crux of arguments to invalidate the agreement.

Common Ways of Overcoming a Prenup

Illinois allows people to enter into prenuptial agreements, but at the same time there are some concerns as these agreements often involve negotiations between people with different financial stakes and different levels of experience. Additionally, it is a negotiation between spouses, which means that people often do not deal with the agreements in the same way they deal with normal contracts, as emotions can significantly alter one or both sides' approach.

Consequently, the law introduces a variety of procedural requirements that need to be in effect for the prenup to be valid. For instance, there must be a reasonable disclosure of both side's finances. If one side does not disclose his or her full assets and that results in the contract being unfair, then it can be invalidated. Beyond that, the contract must be signed voluntarily. If one of the spouses improperly coerces the other into signing the agreement, then it is void.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce and have a prenuptial agreement that concerns you, contact an experienced McHenry County divorce attorney today. Our firm's team of dedicated professionals can work with you to help you understand your options.

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